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11 September 2012

John Springs Baxter, a Biographical Sketch

From Memoirs of Georgia, Volume II by The Southern Historical Association, 1895.
Transcribed by S. Lincecum about 2006.

John Springs Baxter, one of Macon's most distinguished citizens, was born in that city, Dec 3, 1832, and was taken to Athens when but a child in arms, by his parents. In that city he grew to manhood, attending private instruction in Dr. Beman's famous school, and graduating from the University of Georgia in 1853, with the degree of A. B. He then went to Jefferson Medical college, at Philadelphia, and was graduated in 1856. He returned to Macon and there began practice. In August, 1861, he enlisted in the Macon volunteers, an old military company, organized about 1825, which was assigned to the Second Georgia battalion, and known as Company B. He served as a private till April, 1862, when he was made surgeon of the battalion, and acted as such about two months. He then went to Richmond, where he was made assistant surgeon to the Third Georgia hospital. Two months afterward he was appointed surgeon of the Forty-sixth Georgia regiment, in the field, which regiment was then stationed at Charleston, SC. He accompanied the regiment, in May, 1863, to the relief of Vicksburg, and remained with the army until the surrender of Gen. Johnston, at Greensborough, NC. He officiated as surgeon in the battles of Jackson, Miss., and on the retreat from Chattanooga to Atlanta. After the war he resumed his practice in Macon, for about a year, and then went into the general maerchandise business with George S. Jones, under the firm name of Jones & Baxter. He retired from business the latter part of 1873, and in 1876 was made a director of Southwestern, running from Macon to Eufaula, Ala. and Columbus, Ga, the length of the road being 333 miles. In May, 1891, he was made president of the Southwestern, and served as such until February, 1894, and at the election of that year was made vice-president, an office which he now holds. In 1876, in connection with the late W. B. Johnston, he prganized the first artificial ice company established at Macon, and carried it on until 1884, and then sold out. He was one of the original incorporators of the Macon Brewing company, and was one of its directors, and when the company went into the hands of a receiver, in 1891, he and R. H. Plant reorganized the company as the Acme Brewing company, of which he is now a director. He was one of the men who agitated and secured the building of the Macon water works, and was a director up to 1893. He is a director of the Central Georgia bank, the Macon Fire insurance company, the Macon Building and Loan association, and the Ocmulgee Land company, all of Macon, and of the Southern Mutual Insurance company, of Athens, Ga. Dr. Baxter was married in November, 1858, to Caroline, daughter of the late Judge Edward D. Tracy, a resident of Macon, and has one child, Tracy Baxter, who is an attorney in Macon. His wife died in 1861, and Dr. Baxter has never remarried. He belongs to no church, though he affiliates with the Presbyterians, and belongs to no secret society. The only office he ever held was that of city physician, one year, 1857.

The father of Dr. Baxter was Thomas W. Baxter, born in Greene county in 1786. He was a merchant in Macon and Milledgeville, Ga, for many years, and later had charge of the Athens manufacturing company. He died in Athens in 1844. Thomas W. Baxter was a brave soldier in the Seminole war, and in the civil war furnished six sons, including the subject of this sketch, to the Confederate army, viz: Andrew, Thomas W., Eli L., who died in service; Edwin G. Baxter, killed in the service in Texas, and Richard B., who was all through the service until the attack on Knoxville in 1864, where he was captured and held until the war was over. He was in the Third Georgia regiment, first, and was a private in the Fifteenth Georgia regiment when he was captured. The grandfather and grandmother of Dr. Baxter were natives of North Carolina, and the family is of Scotch-Irish descent.

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